Thursday, December 18, 2014

RED COOP WITH SIDE YARD, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Red Chicken Coop, image courtesy of Southernliving.com
A chicken coop/building is on our project list for the farm.  Of course, that's a bit further down the road but we won't let it stop us from researching ideas and such and this is just one of those.  

This is a nice set up.  They built a small (and nice) building and then enlclosed the side yard on all sides and the top.  I guess those hens aren't going anywhere.  So this give us ideas, where we might incorporate one or more of them and come up with our own plan.  One thing we know without a doubt is that our barn and all outbuildings will be red and white.   

Addendum:  Dani asked about American barns being red, a couple years ago, I did some research and created THIS POST about it, if anyone is curious.
 
Be inspired!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NEEDLEPOINT FLOWERS, THRIFT STORE FIND

Vintage needlepoint with flowers
Found this at lunch the other day and one of my favorite thrift stores.  I'm guessing it's a table runner of some sort but it was the beautiful needlepoint work that really caught my eye.  It was only $5.00!

Needlepoint
It's got these beautiful roses mixed with other flowers and greenery.  The colors are vibrant and it's edged in a metallic thread.  The background is a nice yellowish gold color and it's lined on the back with a cream colored fabric.  

I knew immediately what room it would go into at the farm, the guest room (which has a flower theme), but I wasn't sure where.  

Vintage needlepoint table runner with flowers
So when we went out, we had to decide.  We thought about hanging it on the wall but there wasn't a suitable space for that.  We don't have a long dresser that it would go on either.  Then we looked at this yellow cabinet we have in the room and thought that it might look nice hanging on the side.  I put a little hook at the top and here it is!  It looks nice, and is kind of the first thing you see when you look into the room. 

Anyone else love a thrift store/garage sale bargain?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BAY LAUREL TREE

Bay Tree in small container
This is a Bay tree.  Or Bay Laurel as they are called.  It is, of course, one of the trees that the Bay Leaf comes from which is used in culinary creations around the world.  We've been babying this one for about two years now, it started out about 2 inches tall and now is about a foot high.  I was thinking it might be time to transplant it out of its container and into a more permanent home.

That brings me to the question.  

I'm wondering how it should be planted?  Are they better off ground planted or just large container planted?  Seems kind of small to go into the ground and let's face it, our ground is not conducive in some areas and I'd hate to have it die after keeping it this long.  Or do they perhaps grow better in containers?  We have a few empty, very large clay pots in town and we could use one of those.  As it is now, it only gets watered once a week and it's growing well so I'm guessing we'd be OK in a large pot that was watered every weekend.

Bay leaves
I know they are slow growing so we have time to wait.

What about it?  
Anyone ever grown a bay tree?  


Monday, December 15, 2014

ORDERING LADIES ONLINE

BEES!  

We ordered our bees!

What were YOU thinking?



We plopped down the money for two "packages" like this.  They weigh about 3 lbs each and a package contains an already mated queen and upwards of about 10,000 bees...EACH!  That's a lot of bees coming to the farm!  Believe it or not, this is the time of year to order bees.  I learned in the bee school last year that you should always order your bees in the Fall because they are delivered in the early Spring.  Many apiaries are actually already sold out, or have people on a waiting list at this time of year.  For us, this is good for planning because we can spend the next few months getting everything ready.  It's almost like "nesting" when expecting a new arrival.  Hmm, or would that be "hiving"?


We ordered ours from this place, R Weaver Apiaries.  We don't get anything in return from them for this post, this is just our own recommendation.  They actually came highly recommend by a reader of the blog that lives nearby who got their bees at the same place (thank you JM!).  We figured if they have been in business since 1888, they must be doing SOMETHING right.  Their answering of questions and help via phone and email has been wonderful.


Buckfast Bees, image courtesy of Wikimediacommons.com
We ordered BUCKFAST bees.  They are an Italian bee strain that was first developed by Brother Adam who was in charge of beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey in England.  Brother Adam has a fascinating story, if you are interested, click HERE to read his Wiki entry.  Anyway, they were developed for their highly desired qualities.  They are gentle, have a low incidence of swarming, are great honey producers, keep their hives clean, they overwinter well, and of course the queens live a long time.



We are beyond excited.  We're now just a few months away from an exciting new adventure at the farm.  We're learning so much, I've been ordering tools and supplies, those will be coming soon and I'll have some posts about them as well.  

I really always wondered how you actually ordered bees.  Who knew that they were buzzing their way through our postal system, or riding around in FedEx and UPS trucks?  Ordering bees online...now that I think it about, I guess this is the apiary equivalent of mail order brides?  

Let the countdown BEEgin....

*sorry, couldn't resist!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

CROP CORPS, VINTAGE POSTER SUNDAY


We really like this poster image.  It is from WWII and is part of the US Crop Corps program.  This program was similar to the Women's Land Army (getting women to help with crops) and the Victory Farm Volunteers (getting boys and girls to help with crops) but geared toward the older crowd.  This one was sponsored by Country Gentlemen magazine. 

In this, they said "Wanted, Town Folks with Farm Experience".  The fine print mentioned that for "health and patriotic reasons, plan to spend every day you can spare working on a farm".  I guess in this one, he is rolling up his sleeves and getting ready to work (it also looks like give blood? LOL, just kidding).

Hope you are having a good weekend!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

5 ACRES AND A DREAM THE BOOK, REVIEW


Click here to find the book on Amazon
Back in the summer, I had the pleasure of purchasing a book from a fellow blogger.  Many of you know Leigh Tate from her blog 5 Acres and a Dream where she in chronicling the journey.  If you don't know her, get on over there and check it out. 

She has written a book that documents that journey.  Even though I purchased this book in the Summer, I hadn’t blogged about it because I was actually saving it for those cold evenings when I could lay in bed and read.  It has been on my nightstand and for the last week I’ve done just that, reading a chapter or two each evening.  While our own adventure that I blog about here bears a few similarities, we are nowhere NEAR being ready to do what she and her husband have done but because the book is divided up into different accounts of events and plans, it’s kind of nice to read about it and then the next day,  when I find myself daydreaming about something they have done, I Google to find out more info on the topic.  In fact, one of the early things we’re going to do is use their rainwater harvesting technique almost exactly as they have done it. 

Click here to visit her blog
The book is chock full of tips and techniques.  In 5 Acres and a Dream, she takes us all on the journey toward creating a homestead, pretty much from scratch, and documents all the highs and even the occasional lows.  It’s hard work, and she readily mentions that, but still, I swear she makes it look so easy.    Heck, she even has some recipes in there!  This is a book that anyone, novice homesteader wannabe or someone experienced and living off the grid for years, would enjoy and be able to find both knowledge and kinship in its pages.  It’s not always an easy journey but in the end, it’s a worthwhile journey and she has done it all with a grace and fighting spirit that would make those that have come before us (and done it) proud.

So grab a copy of the book, both reference manual and personal story in one engaging story and would make a great gift for your own reading list or for someone on your gift list.

Here is the Amazon link:


This link to the publishing company has all the online places that it's available:


I know one thing for sure, with this book's help, and our own "Master Plan", I want our farm to be like theirs when it grows up, ha.  

Thanks for sharing your journey with us Leigh!



Friday, December 12, 2014

DEHYDRATING FROZEN PEAS AND CARROTS

Recently, we tried some more dehydrating using frozen vegetables.  It was a great time to do it since (here anyway) the humidity was low and it was cold outside so heating up the kitchen a bit was totally OK.  We ran to the grocery store and grabbed a couple bags of frozen 'peas and carrots'.  

Each bag was 16oz, so two pounds total.

Dehydrating frozen vegetables before
While some of this fell through to the lower level, and a bit more was eaten, you know, for "testing purposes", this is how much moisture is removed:

Dehydrating frozen vegetables after
Amazing how much they change!  These took about 12 hours...we dried several layers of them and as you see, the end result seems like so little, even though it was a pound of frozen peas and carrots on each layer.  The photo below was the last jar of peas and carrots and wasn't quite full but we ended up with two jars.

We also dried some more corn and still have one last, lonely jar of our dehydrated tomatoes left (those are so good in a creamy pasta sauce).

Dehydrated frozen vegetables and fresh tomatoes.

Adventures in dehydrating!

CAT BOWL, FELINE FRIDAY

SO WE GOT THIS GREAT BOWL...isn't it pretty?
Found it at a local grocery store that has a few housewares in it for 70% off.  Can't beat that!  It's a great large shallow pasta bowl and well...


Umm...hello?  
Excuse me?


Sigh...Hobart thinks it was a GREAT deal...a deal for him to have a nice and comfy place to sleep!  Pasta alla Hobart anyone?

More later this afternoon!